Three crore pending cases? Prez wants review

Patil's call came in response to Chief Justice S.H. Kapadia's contention that more than 50 percent of the cases counted as "arrears" were in fact filed only a year back. He said such cases could be described as "pending" but not as "arrears". Delivering her inaugural address at the two-day all-India seminar on judicial reforms, Patil asked the legal fraternity to look for innovative ways to clear the backlog. She said a litigant had only one life but litigation transcended generations.

The seminar was organised by the Confederation of Indian Bar. Patil said archival laws that hamper the administration of justice should be either scrapped or suitably amended.

She said "judicial accountability and judicial independence" co-exist. Chief Justice Kapadia called for legislative, judicial and bar reforms. He said judicial reforms alone would not work. He said: "You can't have a chariot running on one wheel."

He lamented that ever since the government took away powers under Section 24 of the Criminal Procedure Code that mandated consultation with the chief justices of the high courts before the appointment of public prosecutors, the quality of government pleaders had gone down. "Why the power was taken away I don't want to comment," he said.

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